4. World Government or World Empire?

A RECOGNITION of the fact that the survival of Western Civilization, and perhaps of mankind, depends upon the early establishment of a monopoly control over atomic weapons usually leads, we have noted, to the conclusion that a "World Government" must be formed. The World Government would exercise supreme world sovereignty. In it the atomic monoply would be vested. Since there would no longer be independent, sovereign nations, international war would "by definition" become impossible, and mankind would thus be saved from the general atomic destruction which another war or two would make probable.

Abstractly considered, the project for a supreme World Government seems to be much the best solution. Long before the birth of atomic weapons, and on more positive grounds than the defense against destruction, the ideal of World Government had been repeatedly put forward. It has to recommend it the humanitarian, moral, and technological arguments which we discussed in Chapter 2. True enough, a World Government would not of itself accomplish quite all that is claimed for it by its advocates. It would not guarantee the end of wars. Wars as physical facts cannot be stopped "by definition." If, under a World Government, international wars could not take place for the semantic reason that there would no longer be nations, nevertheless mass warfare could still go on under the title of "civil war" or "rebellion." Death and suffering are not much changed by a switch of labels. However, if there were, or came to be, a World Government, it would in fact provide the most rational structure within which to meet the problems of modern world polity, economy and technology. And it would give the complete answer to the greatest of all immediate issues: the issue of control of atomic weapons.

For the eloquence, wisdom, and goodness of heart with which the ideal of World Government has been in our time so well defended

-42-

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